National / Crime & Legal

Police re-arrest Saitama man over kidnapping of junior high school girl

Kyodo

Police re-arrested a 37-year-old man on Wednesday for allegedly kidnapping and keeping a Hyogo Prefecture junior high school student at his home in the city of Honjo, Saitama Prefecture, for about two months.

The news of the re-arrest comes just several days after a similar case made headlines in which a 35-year-old man in Tochigi Prefecture was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and confining two teenage girls in his apartment.

The suspect in the Saitama case, Hiroaki Sakaue, a real estate business owner, was arrested previously in October for allegedly kidnapping another junior high school student from the city of Saitama.

He became acquainted with the female student from Hyogo Prefecture through social media and lured her to come to Saitama to stay at his apartment, according to police.

“Come to Saitama, I will take care of you if you study,” the suspect replied to the student on Twitter when she tweeted that she wanted to run away from her home. The Hyogo student stayed in his apartment from late August to late October and had sent a letter to her family to let them know she was alive, police said.

Sakaue told investigators that he was planning to educate the girls so they could work for his company in the future.

In mid-September, the Saitama student’s family reported to the police that their daughter was missing.

She was found in Sakaue’s apartment in late October together with the Hyogo student. Saitama Prefectural Police arrested Sakaue over the Saitama student’s case at the time while they continued investigating the case of the Hyogo student.

According to police, the two students were fed three meals a day and had no restrictions on bathing or phone usage. They were also free to come and go. The suspect provided individual rooms to the girls and made them study the real estate business in addition to their school studies. The students were studying when the suspect was arrested, police said.

In the recent Tochigi case, a 12-year-old girl from Osaka and a 15-year-old girl from Ibaraki Prefecture became acquainted with the suspect via social media before being lured to meet him. The case came to light after the 12-year-old ran away from his home and sought help at a nearby police box.